Nearly 1.3M People Nationwide Vaccinated against Covid-19
As of yesterday, nearly 1.3 million people across the country have received at least their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine in Cambodia, according to the Ministry of Health.
The ministry said it had inoculated 1,277,688 people, equal to around eight percent of the total population. Among them, 983,145 are civilians while 294,543 are from the military.
The vaccines being used include Sinopharm, Sinovac and AstraZeneca. Cambodia has so far accrued 1.3 million doses of Sinopharm, two million doses of Sinovac and 324,000 doses of AstraZeneca.
Ministry of Health spokeswoman and chairwoman of the Ad-hoc Commission for COVID-19 vaccination Or Vandine, via her social media, gave credit to health workers who are administering vaccines.
“I am impressed by your sacrifices and commitment, although it means separation from your families, to participate in the cause of fighting COVID-19, which has been spreading and killing people around the world and recently also threatening Cambodia,” she said. “For joining in the cause, you have become the white-shirt army.”
Meanwhile, Dr Quach Mengly, a medical doctor educated in the US and the founder-chairman of MJQ Education, said that while the number is still small compared to the overall population, the government’s vaccination programme is progressing relatively fast given the current situation in Cambodia. However, he said, the government has to overcome some complications to enhance the drive even further.
“Given the recent outbreak of COVID-19 and lockdowns (in Phnom Penh and Takhmao city), many people do not have access to the vaccines while more and more health workers are needed to take care of the increasing patients, which means fewer of them are administering the vaccines,” he said.
“The government also needs to find the vaccines to immunise everyone who is qualified in the country, but in the meantime, the authorities need to improve the delivery system as well as the transparency to ensure that those who are facing high risk are vaccinated,” he said.
The government has planned to vaccinate its people with 10 million doses this year. Eight million more doses have been ordered, and the first of which, comprising 500,000 doses of China-made Sinovac vaccine, arrived in Cambodia on April 17.
According to Prime Minister Hun Sen, more vaccines are expected in the next four months, with 1.5 million doses to arrive in May; three million in June, two million in July and one million in August.
The vaccination rollout began on February 10, and was gaining traction until it was halted for three days due to medical workers being unable to get to their assigned vaccine stations due to overzealous security forces manning lockdown barricades.
However, the ministry announced that those who have already received their first shot, including those in Red Zones, are allowed to go and receive their second.
In another development, the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia announced on Tuesday that up to 10,000 Chinese nationals in Cambodia have received at least the first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, as part of the “Spring Vaccination” campaign, which was initiated by the Beijing government in March to vaccinate Chinese overseas.
“The Chinese Embassy in Cambodia, on behalf of the Chinese people in Cambodia, would like to express our deepest appreciation for the full support provided by the institutions in Cambodia, including the Ministry of Health, the Minister of Defence, Ket Mealea Hospital as well as the efforts of the Secretariat of Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia,” the Chinese Embassy said in its statement.